Richard Rodney Bennett
Publisher: Novello & Co
Marimba Concerto (1988)
commissioned by New Music Marimba for William Moersch
Novello & Co Ltd
Soloist(s) and Orchestra
Richard Rodney Bennett’s Concerto for Marimba and Chamber Orchestra was commissioned by William Moersch and New Music Marimba and was first performed on 11 March 1988 by the Lehigh Valley Chamber Orchestra with William Moersch as soloist in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
The piece is comprised of two movements. The slower, opening movement is impressionistic and crystalline with the marimba serving as an obligate over the orchestral harmonies. Only in the two cadenzas does the marimba texture thicken, reminiscent of Bennett's earlier writing for solo marimba.
The driving second movement features a molto ritmico theme for the marimba which is punctuated by the orchestra. The movement builds to a fiendishly difficult in temp cadenza where the marimba, in effect, becomes the entire orchestra. A brief echo of the first movement is heard which leads to the dramatic close of the piece.